The 12 Secrets of the Great Summer Camp
Set the bar high – nothing less than life changing — to inspire our campers to develop a bold zest for living – to take chances in a safe environment and blossom through camaraderie and accomplishment.
At Adirondack, we give a great deal of thought to the various developmental stages of our campers and organize them each within specific sets of variables. Our coed camp is divided by gender “lines” and by age group. The camp girl’s line is on one side of campus separated from the camp boy’s line by a large, open field.
The groups are further organized by age: Juniors, Intermediates, Seniors, Rangers and CITs. Each of these groups have their own “lights out” time and corresponding sets of privileges and responsibilities.
And within the principle divisions (Juniors, Intermediates and Seniors), campers are organized, in part, by age, again, when it comes to cabin assignments.
These age groupings permit activities to be organized in most cases by age, while there will also be many activities, special events and competitive games, like Blue/White, that cut across all ages and where the Junior Camp performance in a given contest may, for example, win the day for the entire, camp-wide White or Blue team.
One emphasis, here, in the selection of games and special events that can be played at varying skill levels by all ages is on family. We are, at heart, at Adirondack one large family of individual brothers and sisters of varying ages–one for all, all for one. “Accomplishments” and corresponding “value” statements can have different meanings at different age levels.
For example, a demonstration of “independence” by a very young Junior may be getting out of bed in the middle of the night and going by his/her-self to the bathhouse; whereas for a wizened Senior, “independence” could, for example, be demonstrated by setting out to swim the nearly 2 mile triangle or producing a movie or solving an orienteering problem in the middle of a wilderness trip.
Of course, children can and will vary greatly in terms of physical and emotional maturity even within same age groupings. At Adirondack, within the overall construct of family, the emphasis is, first, on the individual, then, on the group. And so, each cabin counselor has been briefed on the confidential particulars for each child placed under his/her care and responsibility. And so, daily operating reviews within each cabin line begin and end with a focus on individual campers and their specific needs.